|August 18, 2020||Singles Division||2020|
Eric “Z-Man” Zipper entered the season as the self-proclaimed “next Dan Murrell,” but a string of bad luck got in his way. First, he lost to “Sassy” Stacy Howard. Then, he lost to Mike “The Killer” Kalinowski. Now, however, the luck is finally turning in the Z-Man’s direction.
Zipper (2-1) pulled off the first-round upset, beating “The Powder Keg” Paul Preston (3-3) in a 14-12 technical knockout to advance to the next round of the Ultimate Schmoedown Singles Tournament.
“It’s become clear to me that the Schmoedown doesn’t want me to win,” Zipper said prior to the match. “I keep getting Who Said It? and 80s and all these ridiculous categories. So, I’m here to challenge destiny, to challenge fate, to say that I’m going to win no matter what. Because, I’m a nerd, and I’ve been dealing with guys like Paul Preston my entire life.”
The Z-Man had the fire going into the match, and he used every advantage in his arsenal to pull off the win. He opened with a challenge on Preston’s very first question that was ruled in his favor, which he rode to a 7-6 lead at the end of the first round. Clearly agitated by the beginning of the match, Preston went first in Round Two but was only able to capture 4 PTS in the category of Comic Book Movies off of a 3/4 performance. To make matters worse, the momentum continued to remain with the Z-Man as he was able to poach a 1-point steal off of his opponent, along with securing 6 PTS in the category of 2010s to hold a 14-10 lead heading into the final round.
Down four points in Round Three, Preston was able to easily knock down his 2-point question to shorten the deficit to two. Yet, that would end up being all she wrote as The Powder Keg could not pull his 3- and 5-pointers, resulting in the 14-12 technical knockout.
“I feel amazing,” Zipper beamed in his post-match interview. “I’ve been spending my entire life waiting for my luck to turn around, and here we go, it finally happened. It feels great, man.”
“We’ve been in The Dungeon training day-and-night,” manager John Kaiser added. “Last night, me and Zip were going until midnight. We’ve been getting this kid ready. I mean, I can’t be more proud of this guy. You know, I drafted this guy to come back to our family and deliver, and boy, has he elevated his game. He played a good IG Tournament, and here he is in the first round with a TKO. I love this kid. He’s a brother, he’s a teammate, and he made The Dungeon proud today. And, I couldn’t be more freakin ecstatic.”
Zipper’s TKO gives The Dungeon 4 points and moves them up 3 spots to 5th place on the year so far.
On the opposite end, Paul Preston has had a rough year since being drafted by The Den. He is now 0-2 across all divisions following the loss.
“Tom and I played a match, and I knew all my questions,” Preston replied after the loss. “I knew all of Tom’s questions. I knew all the questions of Deep 13 except two. Today, I didn’t know. I thought ‘Hey, I know everything, it’s just the other parts of the game that are getting me’ – picking the categories, the wheel. But, today I just didn’t know. … Everything is working against me. My knowledge AND how the game is played, so I don’t know what I gotta do.”
“I do take some accountability,” manager Kate Mulligan added. “I don’t really train with my players, mainly, because I’m scared of the COVID. I will say though, Paul is somebody – he loves this game and he knows what he knows. I sort of have to support that like, listen, this guy he knows so much! There’s so much that he knows. He got a bad wheel slice, and god that numbers question!”
Zipper advances to take on the winner of the former #1 Contender, Ethan “Big Time” Erwin, and the winner of the final Play-In match, either Vinnie “The Ice Pick” Mancuso or “Spicy” Sabrina Ramirez.